Selected Events (03/11) + Today’s Featured Pub (Midtown West)

 Today’s Fab 5+ > FRIDAY / MAR. 11, 2016

“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening, primarily on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to.” We make it as easy as 1-2-3.
(click on links for more complete event info.)

Have time for only one event today? Do this:
Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan (through March 13)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, at 11th St./ 8:30 +10:30PM, $30
“Quiet guitar innovator Bill Frisell, a jazz ace equally enamored with country music, twangy ’50s pop and outré noise, still sounds like no other player on earth. For his latest Vanguard stand, in what is sure to be a stunning showcase of his many talents, Frisell scales down to a duo with eminent young bassist Thomas Morgan.” (TONY)

Music, Dance, Performing Arts
The New York Pops: 42nd on 57th—Broadway Today
Carnegie Hall, 57th St. & 7th Ave./ 8PM, $20-$122
In an evening of theater showstoppers, The New York Pops brings the best of Broadway uptown.The New York Pops is the largest independent pops orchestra in the United States and the only professional symphonic orchestra in New York City that specializes in popular music.
“The Pops snap and crackle through a selection of modern Broadway show music. Darren Criss (Glee) and Betsy Wolfe (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) are the guest vocalists; Steven Reineke wields the baton.” (TONY)

Marcus Roberts Trio (through March 12)
Birdland, 315 W44th St./ 8:30PM +11PM, $
“Like many of us these days, the pianist Roberts has politics on his mind, though as a composer, this dexterous, historically minded player can handily translate his thoughts into instrumental music. His nonpartisan song cycle—“Race For The White House”—paints tonal portraits of favored candidates, and is sure to be a highlight of this dectet performance.” (NewYorker)

Smart Stuff / Other
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)
Village Voice’s 9th Annual Choice Eats
Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W18 St./ 7PM – 11PM, $70
“Enjoy a tasting of New York’s top dishes from 65 restaurants selected by the Voice staff. From juicy American bites by Genuine Superette to Cabalito’s Salvadorian style pupusas, tastings will include a variety of cuisines. Don’t forget to visit Choice Sweets — an entire section dedicated to sweets. Beer and wine will also be available. General admission tickets ($70) include a souvenir tasting glass and unlimited bites.” (VillageVoice)

Elsewhere, but this annual feast of ideas is not to be missed:
Seven Days of Genius (through Friday)
92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave./ at various times, $
“This series of events, exhibitions and workshops highlights how leading thinkers and creators make a positive impact on the world. The programs include a panel discussion about industries of the future featuring the innovation and policy expert Alec Ross, retired Gen. David Petraeus, the neurobiologist Dr. Cori Bargmann and Jared Cohen, the founder and director of Google Ideas; a workshop on the science of cooking presented by the former White House pastry chef Bill Yosses; and an interactive exhibition about Leonardo da Vinci’s workshop. Further information and tickets are available at 92y.org/Genius.” (NYT-SpareTimes)

Elsewhere, but this is CLOSING SOON (MAR.13): Catch the final days of “Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland” exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. It is really excellent.
subway: easy 25 minutes from Penn Station.
#2.3 express to Eastern Parkway, right at museum’s doorstep.

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Bonus – Jazz Venues:
Many consider NYCity the Jazz capital of the world. Here are my favorite Jazz clubs, all on Manhattan’s WestSide. Check out who is playing tonight:
Greenwich Village (all six are within walking distance of each other):
Village Vanguard – 178 7th Ave. South, villagevanguard.com, 212-255-4037
Blue Note – 131 W3rd St. nr 6th ave. bluenotejazz.com, 212-475-8592
55 Bar – basement @55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave.S. 55bar.com, 212-929-9883
in case you need more options in the Village, these are also fine spots:
Mezzrow – basement @ 163 W10th St. nr 7th Ave. mezzrow.com,646-476-4346
Smalls – basement @ 183 W10th St. smallslive.com, 646-476-4346
Cornelia Street Cafe – 29 Cornelia St. corneliastreetcafe.com, 212-989-9319
Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — jazz.org/dizzys / 212-258-9595
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9ave) — birdlandjazz.com / 212-581-3080
Smoke Jazz Club – 2751 Broadway nr.106th St. — smokejazz.com / 212-864-6662
Special Mention:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St. nr Bleecker St. — caffevivaldi.com / 212-691-7538
a classic, old jazz club in the Village, Caffe V often surprises with a wonderfully eclectic lineup. It’s my favorite spot for an evening of listening enjoyment and discovery.

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♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity, with a population of  8.5 million, had a record 58 million visitors last year and was TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2016.  Quality shows draw crowds.
Try to reserve seats in advance, even if just on day of performance.
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A PremierPub / Midtown West.

Russian Vodka Room / 265 W 52nd St (btw 7th/8th ave)

Sure, you could travel to Minsk or even Brighton Beach, for an authentic Russian experience, but why bother. On those days when you feel you must wash down your dish of kasha with a few glasses of icy, cold vodka, the Russian Vodka Room will definitely satisfy your urge.

From the outside this place looks a bit drab, and with no windows, a bit mysterious. Midtown tourists walk right by on their way to see “Jersey Boys,” just down the block.

lThose in the know enter a secret hideaway, a dimly lit front room with soft jazz playing – a perfect spot for an illicit late-night rendezvous, or maybe a meet-up with your Russian spy handler, but that’s later in the evening. Early in the evening the large U-shaped bar fills with the after work happy hour crowd, a group made very happy by the much reduced prices.

Their website says: “Welcome Comrades”. Of course, this welcome focuses on dozens of different vodkas, including their own special infusions, which marinate in giant, clear glass jugs visible around the room. The large vodka martinis ensure that you won’t confuse this place with your mother’s Russian Tea Room.

But man does not live by vodka alone. Eat some food, especially the tapa like appetizers. Be decadent and try the cheese blintzes with chocolate, or try a main dish like beef stroganoff with kasha.

Your best bet is to go on a night when the piano man is playing. This guy, who looks like he has eaten a lot of those cheese blintzes, plays five nights a week from 7 to 12 (no Mondays and Thursdays). When the piano man is playing American pop tunes, and you are at the crowded, dimly lit bar testing the horseradish infused vodka, that’s when the RVR shines.

It’s the kind of place where the noise gets louder and the crowd gets happier as the happy hour goes on. I’m generally a beer guy, but I like to come here with a group of friends. We find a table in the back room near the piano man; we eat, and we drink vodka ‘till it hurts (and it will hurt).
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Website: http://www.russianvodkaroom.com/
Phone #: 212-307-5835
Hours: 4pm-2am; Fri-Sun closes 4am (that could be trouble)
Happy Hour: 4-7pm every day
$4 shots infused vodka (2oz), $5 cosmos; $4 czech draft beer
Music: FR-SU; TU-WE / 7pm-12am
Subway: #1 to 50th St.
Walk 2 blk N. on B’way to 52nd St.; 1 blk W. to RVR
Confusingly, the Russian Samovar is right across the street, on the S. side of 52nd St.
The RVR, your destination, is on the N. side of 52nd St.
Update: music now includes a sax player with a younger, trimmer piano man. “tiny” we miss you.

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“Pub” is used in it’s broadest sense – bars, bar/restaurants, jazz clubs, wine bars, tapas bars, craft beer bars, dive bars, cocktail lounges, and of course, pubs – just about anyplace you can get a drink without a cover charge (except for certain jazz clubs).
If you have a fave premier pub or good eating place on Manhattan’s WestSide let us all know about it – leave a comment.

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This week’s fave and FREE NYCity AppS: 
Trip Advisor
An enormous base of NYCity user reviews (2.1 million) provides the widest coverage of hotels (468), restaurants (12,645) and things to do (yes, 3,246). Have a specific question? Then try one of Trip Advisor’s forums. Just remember that with all those reviews you have to try to find the consistency among the comments, and ignore the outliers.

OpenTable
Instantly locate restaurants near you with open reservations and then place a reservation right from your iOS device. A great interface and the ability to see a menu from the restaurant you’re interested in makes this my go to restaurant reservation app.

Subway Time 
Need to catch your #1,2,3 subway to attend an event? Use the Subway Time app from the MTA to find out when the next train arrives at your station. The MTA also has Bus Time info available on their mobile website.
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